Smoak returns and contributes
By Shannon Drayer
Judging from the comments on the last post and Twitter (@shannondrayer), I think I was with most of you. I didn’t like the idea of bringing back Justin Smoak from Tacoma so soon regardless of the situation. Shows what we know.
Okay, one game. Small sample size but let’s hope we continue to be wrong. I like what I saw from Smoak Tuesday night. From the double in his first at-bat, to the walk, to the drive to deep left-center and finally the sacrifice fly to drive in the tying run in the ninth. He didn’t look lost. He made good contact. At one point ROOT Sports got a shot of him in the dugout and I swear it looked like he wanted to get back out there and hit again. I didn’t see that three weeks ago. A good start to say the least.
Before the game Eric Wedge said that in Mike Carp’s absence he went with who he thought would most help the ballclub at this point. Wedge knew what Smoak’s numbers were, he knew that he really hadn’t produced until his final few days with the Rainiers, but he wanted to know what was going on behind the scenes. For that information he went to manager Daren Brown and hitting coach Jeff Pentland. He was satisfied with what he heard so the move was made.
“I was just trying to find a routine day-in and day-out that would shorten my swing up and make me feel comfortable and relaxed,” he said. “I just have to stick with it and and keep grinding it out.”
Smoak reported to Tacoma immediately for a day game after being sent down. Players have a couple of days to report when a move was made but he wanted to get to work right away. After the game he spent over two hours in the cage with Pentland working on the swing.
“I was burying my hands, I was reaching way far back trying to hit balls as far as I can hit them and that’s something you can’t do,” he said. “I tried to relax my hands a little bit and not get so far back there and let the ball get to me. I was up there trying to cheat a lot to get the pitches and swinging at the slider in the dirt every time.”
He sounds like he has a better awareness of where he is with the swing. We will see where he goes from there but for one night, it looked good.